POST BINGE DEPRESSION
Congratulations! You have finally finished watching an entire six season one-hundred-episode series on Netflix. Way to go, champ! Take a victory lap around the living room. What a great accomplishment.
But, wait…you’re sad. You feel disoriented, lost, alone. What is it? It’s like you’ve been tossed from a speeding bus and eventually rolled to rest on the side of the road…in the bushes…next to a deceased deer carcus. Who among us hasn’t experienced that feeling at one time or another?
The medical term is Post Binge Depression or PBD. Why do we experience it? To help explain this phenomenon more accurately, I went right to the top and asked my friend, Sparky. In my mind, there’s no one more qualified to elaborate on the subject than this little couch potato. By way of background, Sparky is employed as a part-time sandwich board man for Poncho’s Pawn Shop, Taxidermy & Deli in Poughkeepsie, NY. He is generally paid in Boar’s Head cold cuts which, on a good week, could possibly include the always in demand quarter pound of Head Cheese. This fairly lucrative six hours a month position allows him the freedom of being home for days at a time crunching those sofa cushions. In his studio apartment he has 12 televisions, approximately 120 steaming services, (a few of which are even paid for) 6 laptops, 8 tablets and, yes, you would be correct, zero girlfriends.
I first asked him why someone would spend endless hours inhaling an entire series with fictional characters that has no actual connection to reality to which he responded, “What else am I going to do, the dishes?” That was an excellent point, I must admit.
Sparky explained that the sad and empty feeling most people experience after finishing a binge is that throughout the series, the characters have invited us into their lives, into their world. When the credits roll for the last time, we end up having no choice but to re-enter reality, which can be pretty traumatizing. We are left with an empty feeling and nothing left to show for it except the knowledge that the cat hasn’t been fed in 72 hours and is really, really pissed.
What’s the solution? Sadly, Sparky admits there really isn’t one. He did say that it might be best to get involved in another series right away. It’s the ‘I’m going to quit smoking…right after another pack’ theory, but it does stave off the loneliness at least for a little while.
I asked if re-watching a series would help in any way and he looked at me like I had 3 heads. He said that would drive him crazy because, as he reasons, having already seen it, he would obviously know, for instance, that Mario was eventually going to get run over by the bulldozer and buried in the landfill next to all the other members of his family and, secure with that knowledge, he would have no way of letting Mario know in advance to warn him. “There is no way I could change his fate having no way to get ahold of him,” he blubbered as tears started streaming down his cheeks. By the way, this would be a good time to let you know that Sparky has driven his last two therapists into therapy themselves. Quite a feat, no?
Okay. So Sparky hasn’t been a world of help but at least we now know that there is an actual medical term for how we’re feeling. So, grab that bowl, put your feet up and immerse yourself one more time. Oh, but, first, probably a good idea to feed the cat.